The Earlville Farmers’ Cooperative Elevator Company emerged from a day in early January of 1905 when a group of area farmers met to discuss their need of a grain elevator at the junction of the two railroads.
Construction under the direction of Edward Weidner was well underway by spring. They were operating by June, and the business was called THE GRANGE. At their first board meeting Charles C. Kelley was chosen manager. The name changed to Earlville Farmers Co-op Elevator in 1921.
Business at the elevator flourished, and the need for a large corn crib was recognized and added in 1906.
The company began operations with a capital of $12,000, building a 45,000 bushel cribbed iron clad elevator in 1905. Early in 1923 it was reorganized, at which time the capital was raised to $30,000 and par value of stock increased from $50 to $100 per share. Again in 1945 the capital was increased to $75,000 and first and second preferred stock issued at $25 par.
In 1910 the company purchased the 15,000 bushel cribbed iron clad elevator at Radley located four miles north of Earlville. In 1950, a complete new unit of two steel tanks with elevating legs and capacity of 107,000 bushels was added to Earlville. More improvements in 1957: an ultra-modern office building, a new 50-foot platform scale and another steel grain tank in Earlville with a capacity of 38,000 bushels.
Records from 1918 to the present time show increasing yearly growth from $258,512 in sales to a top figure of nearly sixteen and a half million in 1984.
The addition of Funks G. Hybrid Seed Corn in 1940 helped to account for the steady growth, as well as, the installation of the two 52,000 bushel storage tanks in 1950. A new office building and scale were built in 1956 and 1957. In 1965 their bulk petroleum business was launched. They were the first co-op in Illinois to make this service available to farmers. Large grain dryers were installed in ’65, ’66 and ’67.
In 1978 the Crop Production Center was built on five acres acquired the precious year two miles south-east of town. This center focuses on chemical and fertilizer applications.
Earlville Farmers Coop Elevator was under management of August E. Bader from 1918 until his death in 1957. Lester Kaminky, already a co-op employee, took over management until his own retirement in 1985. The longest serving employee on record is the late Mary Mamie Steele, who was the bookkeeper for 42 years (1916-1958).
Today, the registered grain capacity is 3.0 million bushels with the rated drying capacity, across 3 dryers, of 10,000 bushels and hour. The elevator has the ability to dump 175K bushels of grain per day. In 2014 the Co-op reached over $40,800,000.00 in sales.
Charles C. Kelley 1905-1918
August E. Bader 1918-1957
Lester Kaminky 1957-1985
Greg Kidwell 1985-2009
Jeff Niesler 2009-2010
James Sutton 2010-2013
Brett Crawley 2013-2017
Logan Zinke 2017- present
Past Board Presidents:
Robert F. Lonie
Past & Present Board Members:
Robert F. Lonie